Real destinations plucked from story books

Did you ever wish to visit the castle of Sleeping Beauty or the land of the vampires? We bring you a collection of real places from some of the most famous story books…

We all love stories – reading, narrating or listening to. Since childhood, we have been brought up on a million tales of kings and queens and demons and fairies and ghosts, and stories of love, war and peace. One of the earliest memories I have of my existence is of me lying next to my granny on bed at night, while she narrates tales from folklore and mythology to me, and I sleep imaging myself as one of the characters from the story. Then came the next stage when I started to read, like many of you. Everytime I found Alice in her wonderland or those vampires from Dracula in Transylvania, I so wanted to be at those places, while the action was picking up. So, what we have got here is an assortment of real places which have been plucked out of the pages of some of the most popular story books.


Transylvania: Why did Bram Stoker station the vampires from his 1897 novel, Dracula in the beautiful Romanian region of Transylvania? I often ponder over it, and the more I think, the more I become desperate to visit the place. The Carpathian landscape is dotted with over 250 waterfalls, mountain peaks rising upto the sky, wooded valleys, Old-World churches with spires piercing into the heavens, ghostly castles and scanty traces of human beings. Many operators conduct vampire tours in the region.  


Hamelin: Remember the Pied Piper of Hamelin? The legend speaks of a character clad in multi-coloured clothes who drives all the children from the German town of Hamelin to a distant, unknown land, never to return, through the power and magic of his music. He does this in retaliation of the people of the town, who refused to pay him for the services he conducted rid them off the rat trouble. The town lies on the river Weser in Lower Saxony and is surrounded by beautiful Weserbergland Mountains which are quite popular with hikers and bikers.


Neuschwanstein Castle: The inspiration behind Disney’s version of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, Neuschwanstein is a 19th century Romanesque Revival palace, perched atop a rugged Alpine foothill, on the border shared by Germany and Austria. It was commissioned by the Mad King Ludwig II of Bavaria as his personal refuge, and was opened to public upon his death. It is said that a theatrical designer and not an architect was roped in to design the structure. It comprises a gatehouse, bower, Knight’s house with a tower and a citadel, with two towers to the western end.  


The Garden of Cosmic Speculations: There was one strong reason why I was deeply intrigued by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – it defied all conventional logic. Created by landscape architect Charles Jencks in Scotland, the garden takes on a trip like no other drug through a mind-boggling collection of features which have been designed to incorporate mathematical shapes derived from fractals and the physics of black holes, among other things. It intriguingly captures the essence of Carroll’s troublesome landscapes and you would require to have some higher knowledge to be justifiably confused by it. 


St. Paul, Minnesota: The city of Saint Paul, in the US state of Minnesota builds a new ice palace every other year. The annual Saint Paul Winter Carnival sees the people of the city coming together to carve huge blocks of ice into a beautiful palace, which plays the centre stage to many other ice-themed happenings throughout the festival.

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